Visitors to the Middle Fork of the Salmon inevitably express respect and admiration for the pristine condition of the 95 campsites along the river. Low impact camping practices that emphasize Leave No Trace principals and ethics have preserved and protected Native American and early settler historical sites found on the Middle Fork. Both commercial and private groups have embraced camping practices that have the lowest possible impact on campsites and historical resources.
The Middle Fork of the Salmon is a component of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System and a dominant feature of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Management of the river and adjacent lands is subject to provisions of the Central Idaho Wilderness Act enacted by Congress in 1980. That legislation requires that historic sites along the river be identified and protected.
Towards that goal, a Heritage Action Team (HAT) was established. The team is composed of Forest Service representatives, outfitters, private boaters and tribal members. Their objective is to protect the cultural resources of the Middle Fork while maintaining current levels of use. During the 2018 river season three heritage sites along the Middle Fork will see increased management efforts as a result of HAT recommendations. Those efforts consist of increased education and awareness of the cultural significance of the sites, as well as social engineering to armor sensitive areas. This innovative approach to the management of high use corridors is recognized as a big step forward in improving relationships and management of one of Idaho’s biggest resources.